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The Hilton Worldwide portfolio spans 18 brands and more than 6,100 properties in 119 countries. Every year travelers of all types, especially business, rack up hundreds of nights in hotels around the world.
It’s easy to see why. Hilton has properties everywhere and the quality of brands under their umbrella fit almost any type of traveler.
Hilton Gold and above are offered room upgrades with Diamond members eligible select suites, available at the time of checking in or buyable for the duration of their stay.
Have you ever wondered how often this happens? In our experience it can vary greatly and also how you ask for an upgrade will have a huge impact.
Hilton Honors Status Tiers
There are 4 levels of Hilton Honors membership, ranging from Blue to Diamond. When staying at Hilton properties, the better your status, the more privileges you will receive. Staying at hotels, collecting Hilton Honors points, and having certain Hilton Honors American Express cards are all ways to gain status.
Here are the various hotel tiers offered by Hilton Honors:
For more details about Hilton status you can expect at each level:
Blue: Blue is the program’s entry-level, which everyone receives when they join. Members enjoy a free second guest, as well as late check-out and expedited check-out when available.
Silver: Silver level is earned by Hilton Honors members who stay four times, for a total of ten nights, or who use the Hilton Honors American Express Card. You’ll also get a 20% bonus on any points you earn, a free fifth night when redeeming points, complimentary entrance to fitness centers, and two complimentary bottles of water per stay, in addition to all of the Blue perks.
Gold: Members attain Gold level after 20 stays, 40 nights, 75,000 Honors base points, or having an eligible Hilton Credit Crd. Gold members receive an 80% bonus on all points earned, unlimited continental breakfast at participating Hilton hotels, and space-available upgrades to preferred rooms in addition to the Blue and Silver benefits.
Diamond: Diamond level is obtained after 30 stays, 60 nights, earning 120,000 Honors base points, or having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. Diamond elite members receive a 100% point bonus and a 48-hour room guarantee for last-minute bookings, as well as the possibility to extend their status for an additional year if they are unable to requalify. In addition, diamond members have access to the executive-floor lounges at certain hotels and have access to member services 24 hours.
How Members Can Get Upgrades
Hilton has an official policy on upgrades and maintain the following statement regarding offering a better room.
We’ll do our best to upgrade your room (including Select Suites), based on availability at check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability identified by each hotel and limited to your personal guest room.
The good news is upgrades to rooms is available to all members Gold and above, with the higher status the better the odds.. The downside is it is totally up to the hotel’s discretion on whether to offer an upgrade.
Here are the official ways you can be upgraded at a Hilton property.
Complimentary upgrades are entirely at a hotels discretion and a lot of factors play into whether they grant it or not. This includes but not limited to your status level, hotel capacity, and how many higher tier members are checking in. In fact some hotels also consider their house keeping capacity since a larger room will require more cleaning time upon check out.
A complimentary upgrade is what most people bank on when traveling to a property to keep their suite night awards and points save for a future trip.
Here are some tips to consider to give you the best chance at getting an upgrade upon check in.
Check the hotel capacity about a day or so from arrival to determine if higher rooms are available. This will help you understand if the hotel is full or if there are even rooms available to be upgraded into.
Do not use the mobile check in feature on Hilton Honors App. In our experience once you check in this will assign you a room in the hotels system making it much more difficult to change your room upon checkin.
Consider asking the hotel in advance via the Hilton Honors App chat feature and remember to be nice. Mention you noticed the space available and would like to be considered for an upgrade.
Don’t forget to ask politely upon check in. Consider asking your check in agent if there is any chance for an upgrade and they will surely check the system.
The last tip and by far the most important, be nice! Many times an upgrade is at the discretion of the check in agent and being nice goes a long way.
Lastly, consider the number of days you are planning to stay at a particular hotel. If it is a short stay you are much more likely to get an upgrade so you are not occupying a better room for a long period of time.
Upgrade Certificates (or lack there off)
Unfortunately, Hilton does not have a similar program to Marriott or Hyatt that offer upgrade certificates. These are one time passes that increase the odds of an upgrade, including suites, and are often the easiest way to ensure an upgraded room.
At Hilton, even the highest status does not earn a similar benefit.
Points / Cash Upgrade
After completing a booking with Hilton, Honors Gold and Diamond members are eligible for what Hilton calls “space-available room upgrades.” These are offered directly in your booking screen and will allow you a special price to move to a higher tier room.
You can also use your Hilton points to upgrade a paid or award stay rather than paying cash. Upgrades are charged in blocks of 5,000 points, subject to hotel availability, with some properties and rooms requiring multiple upgrade blocks.
In our experience we see this offered well in advance and sometimes right after booking. You may not know if you upgrade clears until closer to check in but will be notified directly by Hilton.
Travel Agent Rate Upgrades
Specifically for travel advisors Hilton has a program known as Hilton Impresario. Through this program you can receive perks when booking an eligible rate through a participating travel agent at almost all Conrad, LXR, or Waldorf Astoria properties.
When booking through a certified travel advisor, your chances of being upgraded are significantly greater. Complimentary upgrades are just one of the benefits you can receive, whether you have status or not.
Why do travel agent rates get qualified for upgrades? Hotels look at travel agents as part of their loyalty program to encourage them to recommend a particular property to all their clients.
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